Tips on things to do before coming to Japan to work

Before You Go:

As in most countries, it is not easy for a foreigner to come and work here. You should apply for a work visa at the Japanese

 embassy in your home country. You will need to have:

 1. A valid job offer, with company sponsorship. See working conditions in Japan.

 2. A college degree to obtain the sponsorship.

 3. A place to stay. 

 4. Enough money to survive in Japan for at least one month, about Yen 200,000 (US dollar 1,660 if 1 yen=120 US) including cheap lodgings.

 5.Naturally you cannot have a criminal record, and so on.


When you have done all of the above, you should go along to the embassy and be prepared to fill out masses of forms.

If your visa is granted, you will have reached the first step on the bureaucratic ladder. 


Congratulations !

Narita Airport:

If you are coming to work in Tokyo, then your first sample of Japan will be at Narita Airport. It is much the same as any airport in the world, relatively new and coldly efficient. Don't be put off by it, especially if you have consumed a few alcoholic beverages on the long flight, or if you are just plain jet lagged. I have never had to wait around for too long, either at the customs check or at the immigration control desk. My best time from ejection out of the airplane to the outside world is 40 minutes. But don't count on it, especially as it will be your first time to brave the immigration control desk. You should have the letter from your employer handy and an address, where you will be staying. The immigration officer will give you a piece of paper, explaining about the infamous gaijin card, that you must obtain from the local Town Hall, where you will be living.

At the Town Hall:

Most foreigners detest the alien card. You will be fingerprinted, the law on this, may change soon, but don't hold your breath.

 You will also need a few passport size photo's. Naturally you will have to fill out forms in duplicate. Then you will be issued with your alien card, similar to a credit card, with your mug shot, a copy of your thumb print and your personal details, printed on the front. You must carry this card at all times. I have lived in Japan for over ten years and I have been asked to show it twice.

If you do not have it with you when a policeman stops you, you will be in for a hard time, maybe prison or possibly a fine.


If you have any questions or comments about this site, please send me an e-mail:

Copyright © 1999-2001 Live/In/Japan?